By Jen Carlson
Just last year, a giant pink billboard went up in Times Square instructing women to "just have [a lollipop]" when your body desires life-fueling food. The billboard was for Flat Tummy Lollipops, and reached eyes far from the Crossroads of the World. "EVEN TIMES SQUARE IS TELLING WOMEN TO EAT LESS NOW? Have we actually gone mad?" actress Jameela Jamil (maybe you know her as Tahani on The Good Place) tweeted at the time, questioning the dangerous detox-branded diet supplement industry.
S. Bryn Austin, a professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health, lauded Jamil for her efforts recently, saying "Jamil has opened the eyes of millions around the globe to the corrupt and deceptive detox tea market. Arguably, she’s done this more efficiently and expeditiously than a quarter century of well-intentioned but utterly unglamorous communications from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA)." And her efforts have now reached New York.
According to NY1, Councilman Mark Levine "has introduced legislation to ban the sale of the tea and other similar products to minors after learning about their danger from a staffer whose relative died after consuming them." Under Levine's legislation, the unregulated products wouldn't go away, but purveyors of the product would need to "require proof of ID to purchase the products and impose violations of up to $500 for those caught selling to minors." It's unclear how much Levine's legislation will do to slow down this industry, but it's a step.